LAKE WEDOWEE - Lake Wedowee claimed another life on Saturday as a result of drowning.
According to Randolph County Sheriff David Cofield, the victim was identified as Christopher Michael Sterley, 22, of Hoover. Sterley had jumped from what is known as "the jumping rock" below Lonnie White boat ramp. Family members lost visibility of him shortly after his jump into the water.
Cofield issued the following statement concerning the incident:
"The Randolph County Rescue Squad and Randolph County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the area near the Lonnie White boat ramp to begin the search and rescue at approximately 4:45 p.m. The agencies worked late into the night without success. Efforts were resumed at 7 a.m. Sunday and continued throughout the day until dark. At approximately 2:18 p.m. on Monday, after an early morning start, members of the Houston County Rescue Unit Dive Team successfully recovered Mr. Sterley's body.
"The Randolph County Sheriff's Office expresses extreme gratitude to Randolph County Rescue Squad, Houston County Rescue Unit, ALEA Marine Police and Patrol Division, Randolph County EMA, Alexander City/ Tallapoosa County Rescue Squad, Clay County Rescue Squad, Randolph County Sheriff Reserves, Lineville Police Department, B&K Diving, retired officer Ricky Hancock, Wedowee Fire Department, Newell Fire Department and Southern Ambulance Transport for the time and effort involved in this three-day search and recovery. We also appreciate all of the private citizens and businesses that extended their love and support by donating snacks and drinks to these agencies and volunteers.
"As our condolences and prayers are extended to Mr. Sterley's family, we urge everyone to proceed with extreme caution while on the lake. Please be equipped and prepared for any situation that might arise as Lake Wedowee is utilized for water activities. Thank you and God bless!"
Friends have established the Christopher Sterley Memorial Fund on gofundme.com to help his family during this time.